E! Analysis - August 2011

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* Bold denotes programming change


Even with the cluttered programming on cable on Sunday nights, E! is not afraid to air one of their best originals like  KEEPING UP WITH THE KARDASHIANS or HOLLY'S WORLD.  Most of their schedule varies night by night, week to week.  It is rather looked upon as if you are watching the brand, and not appointment viewing.

This cable network has developed a successful, highly profitable take on the old broadcast network formula -- find and create accessible stars and watch the viewers pour in, but for fractions of the cost of a single episode of a network drama.


Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / August 2011 vs. August 2010  (% Change)

Yearly % change*





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Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

For August, just as with the month before, E! enjoyed very strong ratings among its top programs while the majority of its shows languished.  Once again, KEEPING UP WITH THE KARDASHIANS stood head and shoulders above the rest.  KARDASHIANS pulled in its biggest audience on the 21st – the week of Kim’s much-publicized wedding to Kris Humphreys.  Unsurprisingly, the four female-skewing premiere episodes of KARDASHIAN were E!’s most popular telecasts.

The first season of ICE LOVES COCO finished an impressive first season on a high note: the August 7 finale garnered ICE’s highest ratings.  Despite ICE’s success, the show simply couldn’t compete with KARDASHIANS numbers.  Only ICE’s final episode managed to land within the network’s top 20 telecasts for the month.  In fact, a full 15 spots on the list were claimed by KARDASHIANS.  Even still, ICE ranked #1 in its time period for the night of its finale and was second overall among cable.

The rest of E’s programming slate did not quite measure up.  Regardless, August still managed to pull ahead of E’s dismal July.  Household numbers were up each night of the week and there was little decrease among individual demographics.  Conversely, yearly numbers were down across the board.

THE SOUP fared well in its usual Friday night timeslot at 10PM.  While still very much female-skewing, THE SOUP attracted E’s strongest male audience for the month.  According to an E! press release, the Joel McHale hosted program experienced its strongest August ever.

The month was also record breaking from the perspective of Total Day ratings: it was E’s most watched August among women aged 18-34 and 18-49.  If only primetime is taken into account, however, the numbers are less impressive.

SWEET HOME ALABAMA – airing under E!’s MOVIES WE LOVE umbrella – attracted a strong audience.  The same could not be said for the likes of SEX AND THE CITY, TRUE HOLLYWOOD STORY, and E! INVESTIGATES.  Tepid response to these programs dragged down E’s ratings throughout the week.


E! and Virgin Produced, the newly minted production arm of Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group, have forged a multiyear first-look development deal in which E! will have exclusive rights to all Virgin Produced reality series development.  Virgin Produced serves as the film and television development, packaging and production arm of the Virgin Group.

E! has excelled at creating the next celebrity from scratch through cheaper, unscripted reality TV and its formula to create an alternate universe of reality-based celebrities who have become just as famous as the sitcom and drama stars in network prime-time, but with more impact on E!'s brand and bottom line than any sitcom, medical procedural or legal drama could for broadcast.

A lot of E!'s original reality programming starts with a family or an ensemble piece.  It's not about one person, but rather a group.  As in the case of the KARDASHIANS.  KARDASHIANS allow the E! viewers to vicariously live the fantasy of its stars but also points to specific touchstones that are very relatable to viewers.